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fat catLucy sighed as she looked down on Philly as he sat, purring loudly, on the vet’s weighing scales. For the third time in three months he was being weighed, and for the third time in three months, Philly had put on weight, despite his diet being restricted and monitored and all his treats removed.

“I really have no idea,” said the vet scratching his head in bewilderment.

“Nor me,” Lucy seemed disappointed again.

“Last chance,” advised the vet as he left the room, returning with a big bag of special low-fat diet cat kibbles and a special measuring cup so Philly’s food could be weighed out and monitored. Again.

“See you next month,” muttered Lucy as she picked up Philly the fat cat and put him, still purring contentedly, back in his cat basket.

Philly darted out of the back door with a sense of great urgency when they got home at 5.15pm. Lucy made room in the cupboard for the new kibbles, pushing Philly’s normal cat food to the back.

Despite careful weighing out of the new kibbles with the measuring cup over the next couple of weeks, Philly failed to lose weight. In fact, he seemed to be piling on the grams instead.

Lucy gave Philly half of his allowed kibbles in the morning before she went to work, then at 5.15pm she got home from work, she let Philly out into the garden whilst she had her dinner. Then at 10pm she put the rest of his kibbles out for him just before she went to bed. He would finish them off then join her on the bed where he would snuggle up whilst purring out his love for her. Although recently he was taking up more and more space on the bed as his girth grew.

One evening, after a terrible, stressful day at work Lucy got home at 5.15 as usual only to find she hadn’t switched the slo-cooker on as she had raced out late, that morning. Everything was as cold and as raw as she had put it into the pot. However, the morning which had started out cold, grey and wet, making a casserole was an ideal hot meal, turned out unexpectedly to be hot and gloriously sunny, so cold cuts and a salad seemed more apt.

“Darn,” she grumbled, as she let Philly out of the back door, grabbed her purse and went out of the front door, almost running into the village to grab something to eat before the shops closed.

She reached ‘Gourmet Grub’ just as the owner, Stephen was closing the door. She pleaded with him to let her in to buy some food. Reluctantly Stephen let her in, turned the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’ and locked the door behind them.

“I’ll be quick,” she promised. Then Lucy stood, shocked, her mouth open.

“Philly?!” she exclaimed. A large cat munching on a pile of scraps stopped mid chomp, acknowledged Lucy with a chirrup then carried on eating.

“Philly?” asked Stephen “Now I know his name. I’ve been calling him Conrad the Connoisseur.”

“Oh no. That fat cat is Philly my cat and he’s cost me a fortune at the vets trying to find out why he’s been piling on the weight for the past three months.”

“Ooops, all my fault” smiled Stephen “Since I opened three months ago Conrad the Connoisseur, sorry, Philly, had been turning up regular as clockwork at 5.20 each night just as I close up shop. If I don't notice him, he pats on the glass door to be let in, then I let him have the scraps and leftovers from the deli.

“Conrad the Connoisseur? More like Conrad the con artist.” laughed Lucy. They both looked at each other, then down at Philly who was munching his way through some chicken slivers and laughed.

Stephen went on to explain that he put slivers of meat into a ‘rose’ shape along with any cheese left over at the end of the day. Then he presented it as a gourmet plate to Conrad the Connoisseur for him to sniff and approve, after which he would cut everything up into tiny bits for the cat to enjoy.

“I’m sorry about your vet’s bill,” smirked Stephen. “Here, to make up, we’ll pick up some bits and bobs from the shop, there’s a table and chairs outside the back of the shop, we can have a bit of a picnic.”

He opened the wine cooler cabinet and took out a bottle of vintage cava then collected various meats, cheeses, olives, tomatoes and salads then they went outside into the warm sunshine, followed by Philly who sat, had a good wash and then flopped on the floor in the hope of more scraps.

Several hours later, the food was eaten, the cava drunk, and the sun was setting as the two of them chattered away with Philly alternating between the two laps.

Four months later Philly was best-mog at their wedding. Twelve months later, there were three in the relationship as Philly snuggled up in between his two humans in bed at night.

In keeping for a very loved cat Philly, or Conrad the Connoisseur, does still visit the deli shop at closing times, but his slivers of meat and cheese are strictly rationed and part of a very healthy diet!

Carol Lake

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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